Franklin Street Advisors Inc. NC boosted its position in shares of Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK) by 6.3% during the third quarter, according to its most recent filing with the SEC. The institutional investor owned 100,595 shares of the company’s stock after buying an additional 5,972 shares during the period. Merck & Co. accounts for approximately 1.1% of Franklin Street Advisors Inc. NC’s investment portfolio, making the stock its 27th largest position. Franklin Street Advisors Inc. NC’s holdings in Merck & Co. were worth $6,278,000 as of its most recent SEC filing.

Several other hedge funds have also recently added to or reduced their stakes in MRK. Boston Advisors LLC boosted its stake in Merck & Co. by 512.1% in the second quarter. Boston Advisors LLC now owns 374,199 shares of the company’s stock worth $21,558,000 after buying an additional 313,068 shares during the period. Seminole Management Co. Inc. bought a new stake in Merck & Co. during the second quarter worth approximately $19,783,000. Badgley Phelps & Bell Inc. boosted its stake in Merck & Co. by 14.4% in the second quarter. Badgley Phelps & Bell Inc. now owns 5,225 shares of the company’s stock worth $301,000 after buying an additional 657 shares during the period. Raymond James Trust N.A. boosted its stake in Merck & Co. by 3.3% in the second quarter. Raymond James Trust N.A. now owns 337,745 shares of the company’s stock worth $19,457,000 after buying an additional 10,865 shares during the period. Finally, Headinvest LLC boosted its stake in Merck & Co. by 0.8% in the second quarter. Headinvest LLC now owns 26,245 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,512,000 after buying an additional 200 shares during the period. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 73.25% of the company’s stock.

Institutional Ownership by Quarter for Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK)

Shares of Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK) traded up 0.92% on Friday, hitting $62.21. 3,501,268 shares of the stock traded hands. Merck & Co. has a 12 month low of $47.97 and a 12 month high of $65.46. The company has a market cap of $171.52 billion, a PE ratio of 31.77 and a beta of 0.76. The firm’s 50 day moving average is $61.63 and its 200-day moving average is $60.02.

Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK) last issued its quarterly earnings results on Tuesday, October 25th. The company reported $1.07 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.99 by $0.08. Merck & Co. had a return on equity of 24.25% and a net margin of 13.76%. The firm earned $10.50 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $10.17 billion. During the same period last year, the company earned $0.96 earnings per share. The company’s revenue for the quarter was up 4.6% on a year-over-year basis. Equities analysts predict that Merck & Co. will post $3.78 earnings per share for the current year.

The firm also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, January 9th. Shareholders of record on Thursday, December 15th will be given a $0.47 dividend. This is a boost from Merck & Co.’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.46. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Tuesday, December 13th. This represents a $1.88 annualized dividend and a yield of 3.02%. Merck & Co.’s dividend payout ratio is presently 93.88%.

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A number of equities analysts have issued reports on the stock. Argus reissued a “buy” rating and set a $80.00 price target (up from $65.00) on shares of Merck & Co. in a research report on Thursday, October 27th. Vetr raised shares of Merck & Co. from a “buy” rating to a “strong-buy” rating and set a $65.80 price target for the company in a research report on Monday, November 7th. Bank of America Corp. raised shares of Merck & Co. from a “neutral” rating to a “buy” rating and raised their price target for the stock from $57.00 to $70.00 in a research report on Thursday, October 13th. Berenberg Bank reissued a “hold” rating and set a $62.00 price target on shares of Merck & Co. in a research report on Sunday, September 11th. Finally, Jefferies Group reissued a “hold” rating and set a $65.00 price target on shares of Merck & Co. in a research report on Sunday, October 16th. Thirteen investment analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and nine have assigned a buy rating to the company. Merck & Co. currently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $66.24.

In other Merck & Co. news, EVP Adam H. Schechter sold 39,200 shares of the stock in a transaction on Thursday, September 1st. The stock was sold at an average price of $62.61, for a total value of $2,454,312.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the executive vice president now owns 39,200 shares in the company, valued at $2,454,312. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at this hyperlink. Also, insider Weir Mirian M. Graddick sold 40,800 shares of the stock in a transaction on Monday, October 3rd. The stock was sold at an average price of $62.07, for a total value of $2,532,456.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the insider now owns 128,973 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $8,005,354.11. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. 0.05% of the stock is owned by company insiders.

Merck & Co. Company Profile

Merck & Co, Inc is a global healthcare company. The Company offers health solutions through its prescription medicines, vaccines, biologic therapies and animal health products, which it markets directly and through its joint ventures. It operates through one segment, Pharmaceutical. The Company’s Pharmaceutical segment includes human health pharmaceutical and vaccine products marketed either directly by the Company or through joint ventures.

5 Day Chart for NYSE:MRK

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